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Google Analytics 360 – A Shot Across The Advertising Bows

Though Google has long had a foot in the door of digital marketing though its market dominating Google Analytics service, it has been slow to provide enterprise offerings beyond that. This week though the firm announced the launch of Google Analytics 360: a bundling of its tag management, analytics, data studio (an application of BigQuery), optimization, attribution and audience management capabilities. The goal of this product is to provide a single data management (DMP) service platform for advertisers to track the customer journey.

But what should we really make of this announcement?  On the one hand Google, makes lots of announcements and lots of those announced products wither on the vine. On the other hand, this is Google we are talking about and its brand awareness alone makes it a potential player and disrupter.

In my opinion, Google could be on to something here and we should watch the coming year closely to see what traction it gains in its early days. True, it still appeals more to the small and mid market buyer, particularly those that are cost-conscious, rather than to the true enterprise. But even so, Analytics 360 plays to Google’s strengths and is focused squarely on digital advertisers, not generic marketers. This is a potentially lucrative group that has not been a core focus of other vendors to date.

Certainly Analytics 360 is a shot across the bow of Adobe, Salesforce and to some extent Oracle, but I think it’s especially a shot across the bows of Microsoft. Microsoft has long dallied with the idea of jumping into the digital marketing world, but to date has made only half-hearted attempts via its Dynamics CRM division. However, rumor has it that Microsoft is looking to make strategic investments in this space, and in Silicon Valley rumors spread fast.

So as a buyer of technology you have another option to consider. To be clear, this is not new technology; rather, it’s new bundling of existing technology. It is well tested and capable of delivering: the use of BigQuery as an underlying analytics tool alone means it should scale to almost any requirement.  But with Google as a potential technology provider, you will want to be 100% sure that you get the full customer support you need, for customer support for enterprise buyers has not always been a strong point for the firm.

As for technology vendors, do not dismiss Google’s efforts here too quickly, and watch over the shoulder for Microsoft to make a play within the coming year. For whenever a market heats up and reaches a critical mass, the gorillas usually enter the compound.


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